The Battle of Dvina or the Battle of Spil , in Western sources also the Crossing of the Dvina - a battle between the Russian-Polish-Saxon and Swedish armies in the framework of the second Northern War , which took place on July 8 (19), 1701 (July 9, 1701 according to the Swedish calendar ), which determined the unsuccessful outcome of the siege of Riga by the army of Augustus II the Strong and brought victory to the Swedes at an early stage of the Baltic campaign.
|Battle of the Dvina|
|Main Conflict: Great Northern War|
|date||July 8 (19), 1701|
(July 9, 1701 according to the Swedish calendar
|A place||Riga , Livonia|
|Total||the victory of the Swedes|
|Forces of the parties|
Events before the battle
After the unsuccessful siege of Riga in 1700, the Saxon troops, threatened by the appearance of Charles XII with a strong army, moved to winter apartments. Nevertheless, after the victory over the Russian troops at Narva, the Swedish king remained in the Livonian war-torn war for the winter, intending to finish off the defeated king. but the cold and hungry winter forced him to place troops around Dorpat in winter apartments, the king himself occupied the ancient castle of Lais (Lauze). There he spent five months, occupying himself with amateur performances, masquerades, dinners and serious snow fights. Magnus Stenbock organized the orchestra and delighted the king's ear with music of his own composition, while the Swedish army went hungry and melted before our eyes. By spring, less than half of the soldiers remained under arms.
Taking advantage of this, August II, with the onset of spring, again decided to attempt to capture Riga. By the summer of 1701, the Saxons managed to deploy their troops on the opposite bank of the city from a continuous line from Spilvskie Meadows to the vicinity of Katlakalns , thus blocking the city center one hundred percent from the left bank of the Dvina. The Saxons placed artillery batteries all over their line, and special attention was paid to the condition of the island of Lutsau ( Lutsavsaly ), on which the watchdogs monitored the safety of the crossing across the Daugava .
In the spring of the same year, Tsar Peter I sent a contingent of Russian troops to help the allies. after another personal meeting with Augustus II in the Lithuanian town of the Exchange on February 26 (March 9), 1701. There, they agreed on further joint plans for a war against the Swedes. Including the Russian Tsar handed over to the Elector King the corps of infantry with a total of about 20,000 people. The corps was fully armed (mostly with the latest Maastricht and Lutti guns purchased in Europe) and provided with a 100,000- pound gunpowder.
In May 1701, Prince Anikita Ivanovich Repnin came out of Pskov , leading to the Saxons to help near Riga, this corps: 18 soldiers and 1 Streletsky infantry regiments. After a month and a half, he connected with the troops of Steinau near Kockenhausen (Koknese). On the arrived regiments, the Saxon field marshal gave a review:
“Russian troops arrived here, numbering about 20,000. People are generally good, no more than 50 people will have to be rejected; they have good Mastricht and Lutti guns, some regiments have swords instead of bayonets. They are going so well that there is not a single complaint against them, they are working diligently and soon, unquestioningly obeying all orders. It is especially laudable that with a whole army there is not a single woman and not a single dog; in a military council, a Moscow general complained strongly asking that the wives of Saxon musketeers be forbidden to go to the Russian camp morning and evening to sell vodka, because through this his people are accustomed to drunkenness and all kinds of rowdy. General Repnin is a man of about forty; in war he doesn’t make much sense, but he loves to study and is very respectful: the colonels are all Germans, old, incapable people and other officers are inexperienced people. ”
The main forces of Repnin’s corps remained at Kockenhausen, and 4,000 people were sent to Riga under the general command of Thomas Jungar (regiments of Treiden, Riddor and archer Yuri Westov). In early July, they approached Riga. Thus, Field Marshal Steinau had at his disposal on the left bank of the Dvina a 28,000th army, in which one third were well-trained Saxon infantrymen and cavalry, and the remaining two-thirds were Repnin’s Russian corps.
Meanwhile, Charles XII after the winter adjusted his plans for the further conduct of the war. He no longer so eagerly sought to invade Russia. Without placing the Russian soldiers in anything, the king believed that it was not enough honor to fight such an enemy. Moreover, Karl decided that it would be unreasonable to move to Russia, allowing the undefeated Saxon army to threaten him from the rear. By June, 10,000 new recruits had arrived from Sweden, replenishing Karl's army with up to 24,000. A plan appeared in the king’s head: to force the enemy to crush his forces along the river, and having forced the Dvina near Riga, defeat the allied army in parts. The success of the plans of the operation was to prevent the enemy from knowing in what place the Swedes would gather to force the river.
At the place chosen by the king, the river reached a width of 600 meters. Formally, General Carl Magnus Stewart was formally responsible for the engineer support for the operation. However, the 76-year-old Governor-General of Riga Dahlberg, being an experienced and well-deserved fortifier, as well as well-informed in advance about some of the details of this major military operation, contributed to its technical training.
All movements of the units in the Russian-Saxon camp were controlled by the Swedes, who observed the left bank from the bell tower of the Dome Cathedral . From residents of the city and its environs, belonging to the lower class, the detachments formed a detachment of a thousand people. All ferrymen, pilots, fishermen and transporters received orders from the qualified management, if necessary, to assist the Swedes in crossing the Daugava. Unbeknownst to the Saxons, it was ordered to collect on the Riga city canal all the barges, tugs, barges and rafts that could be found; floating blockhouses were built on larger rafts and cannons were inserted into their hatches; also found a lot of carts of old straw and fair hay to close the Daugava with a smoke screen at the right moment. The construction of a pontoon bridge for crossing the cavalry was also begun.
Leaving the detachment in the event of the appearance of the Russian units, Karl June 17 ( 28 ), 1701 , the day of his 19th birthday, with the main forces of 18,000 people in the incredible heat moved from Derpt to the south. The distance required to overcome was about 250 kilometers. They moved with all the precautions so that the Saxon commander-in-chief would not have a definite opinion about where in Riga or Kockenhausen Karl XII planned to transport his regiments across the river.
The Saxon Field Marshal, awaiting the possible arrival of Karl and not knowing where the enemy would cross, scattered his troops along small banks of the Dvina. Steinau needed, at all costs, to prevent the Swedes from crossing the river, so he, depending on the Swedes who had learned about the route, kept rearranging his regiments along the bank of the Dvina so as not to miss the enemy. In the event that the Swedes attempted to cross the Dvina near Riga, Steinau ordered to occupy islands lying on the left bank under the city, which occupied part of the Russian troops, including Lutsau, which housed about 400 people.
When the Swedish cavalry appeared near Kokenhusen, it became clear to the Saxons that the Swedes intended to force Dvina in this place, and they began to strengthen and equip the area. But on the evening of July 17, the king, unexpectedly even for his generals, ordered all units to go on a forced march to Riga, and Steinau in a big hurry began to transfer reinforcements to the Riga direction. As a result, by the beginning of the battle, the Swedes were opposed by an army of 9,000 Saxons and 4,000 Russians under the general command of Steinau himself. Repnin’s infantry corps remained with Kockengusen.
The crossing was planned the next day, July 18, but a gale blew, and the event had to be postponed, which allowed the Saxons to quietly transfer their cavalry from under Coquenhausen. The Saxons turned in a classic battle formation - in the center are two infantry lines, cavalry on the flanks, and artillery in the intervals between battalions. Steinau’s plan was to allow the Swedes to cross the river, let them build, and deal a powerful blow to them with all their might. Thus, the enemy was thrown into the river and suffered a crushing defeat.
The forces of the parties
Directly opposite the crossing near the village of Spilve, the Swedes built a battery of 28 guns. For the first attack, 15 infantry battalions (about 6,000 infantrymen) and 5 cavalry regiments (a total of 7,156 people) were intended.
The Saxons pulled their main forces to the place of crossing the Swedes. Steinau had 16 infantry battalions, 4 cuirassier and 5 dragoon regiments (about 12,700 men) with 36 guns.
The Swedish generals pointed to Charles XII at great risk when crossing the river under enemy artillery fire, but the king was adamant. The French envoy Count Giscard represented the king all the danger of such an enterprise and said by the way: "Saxons are not Russian after all." Karl answered in Latin: “et si fuissent galli” (yes, even the French!).
The crossing began at 4 a.m. on July 19, 1701. Swedish sappers, on a signal given by Quartermaster General Carl Magnus Stewart, set fire to the stacks of raw straw, and artillery opened fire on the opposite bank. As soon as the smoke was over the crossing, Charles XII ordered to proceed to force the river. Oversized boats with high self-folding sides departed from the estates of Hermelin and Meller under the cover of a smoke screen.
The Saxons found the landing, only when he swam to the middle of the river, and began to shell him, the Germans immediately began to respond to the shots from batteries mounted on ferries. Lieutenant General Otto Arnold Paykul began to build his infantrymen to bring them down at the enemy as soon as he rises from the water to the shore. Saxon artillery also opened fire, which did little harm to the Swedes. At the same time, an attempt was made to build a prepared pontoon bridge for crossing the cavalry. However, as soon as they started to build the bridge at the command of Stuart, the weather rose, and the sappers did not manage to fix its opposite end on the south coast. The bridge was cracked by a strong wind, and it sailed downstream. The Swedish cavalry could not cross along with their infantry, leaving it to independently repel the attack of the Saxon cuirassiers. The Swedes had to carry reinforcements already during the ensuing battle, all on the same boats and rafts on which the first landing group was landed.
Three quarters of an hour after the start of the operation, the first landing of the Swedish detachment of 7 thousand infantry and 600 cavalry at Kremershof followed. The first to set foot on the left bank of the Dvina were the Life Guards, with whom the king himself also crossed with the grenadier battalion. They were followed by other Swedish battalions. The Saxon's palisade barriers were overcome on the move, and the seized bridgehead on the orders of Major General B. von Lieven was quickly surrounded by a line of Spanish slingshots. It was necessary to do everything in a great hurry in order to have time to protect themselves before the attack of the Paikul grenadiers.
The Saxon attack took place a few minutes later - the infantry in the center and the cuirassiers on the flanks rushed to the attack. With the help of long spikes and Spanish slingshots, the Swedes could hardly resist the Saxon cavalry. Together with her, they also repelled the attack of the Saxon infantry along with the Russians, who were forced to retreat. The Saxons retreated to rebuild and attack the Swedes again.
While the Saxons were putting themselves in order, the Swedish units unloaded from the ships and transported part of the guns. Charles XII ordered to go on the offensive, going to the plain. To prevent this, Paikul launched an attack on the Swedes again, trying to throw off the enemy’s blue lines, he was wounded in battle, but the Swedes resisted. Having repelled the attack, they inexorably moved forward. Having reduced the distance to 20 steps, the Swedes fired two shotgun volleys and, snatching the swords, rushed to the bayonet attack. The Saxon army took flight.
At this decisive moment, Steinau himself arrived, puzzled by such an outcome. He ordered a retreat to the main position, covered from the left flank by a swamp, and from the right forest. He managed to restore order between the retreating troops, and he again led them into battle. The battle in which the Saxon field marshal was wounded was fierce. The Saxons used their advantage in the cavalry. Saxon cuirassiers crushed the right flank of the Swedes, and the situation for the Swedes became critical. The infantry of Charles XII was crushed and tipped over to the river. The situation was saved by 150 drabants and 50 cavalrymen from the Life Guards Regiment. The king, having snatched his sword, managed to stop the running soldiers and provide fierce resistance to the enemy. Among those who maintained complete composure was Stenbock. The count managed to rally the two battalions of his regiment and meet the enemy with dense fire. In the melee that took place, the Duke of Courland was stunned by a blow to the head, his fall caused confusion in the Saxon cavalry, which again leaned back. Steinau ordered the departure.
It was only 7 a.m. The retreat was organized and in full order in front of the Swedes. It was impossible for them to pursue the enemy, to the great chagrin of Charles XII. His foot soldiers were tired of fighting in a quagmire, he himself lost a boot in Spilva's potholes (he is now kept in the Museum of the Blackheads House in Riga). His cavalry regiments still remained on the Riga coast, and it had to be transported by boat, which took a lot of time.
The defeated, but not particularly damaged, army of Augustus easily broke away from the enemy, leaving the Swedes with a banner, three standards, all 36 artillery guns, a large convoy and supplies of food, ammunition and ammunition. Losses of the Saxon army reached 900 people killed and 500 prisoners. The army of Charles XII lost up to 300 people.
Fight for Lutzau
The detachments of the allied Russian troops were actually left to their own devices, including a guard detachment on the island of Lutzau , which consisted of two companies of 289 people, according to the painting of the regiments of Repnin:
Tomasov’s regiment of Jünger: Captain Alfery Emelyanov, son of von Schlippepbach  , Lieutenant Savva Ivanov, son of Izvolsky, sergeants 2 people, 1 person. drummer, corporal and ordinary 182 people. Timofeev’s regiment of Treiden: Pavel Pazukhin, sergeant, corporal and ordinary 100 people.
These two companies, forgotten by both the Allies and their own command, offered long-term resistance to the superior numbers of Swedish troops, who began to clean up the islands after the battle.
A few days before the battle, the Riga governor Eric Dahlberg sent Colonels Gelmers and Wrangel, each of 300 of the regiments that formed the garrison of Riga, to sabotage the Russians standing at Dalengolm . Upon their return, they were instructed to exterminate the Russians who settled on the island of Lutzau, as they refused the proposed surrender. They decided to carry out the operation on the night of July 19-20. However, the Russian troops put up fierce resistance. The noise of the battle alarmed the entire Swedish camp, where they could not understand what had happened. The Swedish king himself with a detachment of cavalry hastened to the scene of the battle. He arrived in time when it was all over, when those who were in the trenches were destroyed, and the bodies of the dead lay in piles. The Swedes also suffered heavy losses. One of the detachment commanders, Colonel Gelmers, many officers and more than 100 foot soldiers were killed, and Captain Lilenshtern and several other officers and privates were seriously injured.
According to Adlerfeld , only twenty people remained in a small redoubt when they were saved by the appearance of the king, who ordered them to spare their lives and capture captive to the great displeasure of the officers and privates, furious with the losses they suffered during the attack.
Consequences of the battle
The Russian auxiliary corps of General A. I. Repnin did not take part in the battle on the Dvina and immediately after it retreated to Pskov.
The Saxon army, divided into two parts, retreated from Riga. One part took refuge in Kobron’s trench (During the retreat, they planted gunpowder under Kobernshanets, which flew into the air in view of the Swedes), the other went to Dunamunde , where they managed to hold out until the second half of September.
The Swedish troops, pursuing the army of Augustus II, by September 1701 completely occupied Kurland - the vassal duchy of the Commonwealth. The entire left bank of the river was cleared of the Saxons, small fortresses were stormed or capitulated without a fight. The remains of the Saxons took refuge in the territory of West Prussia.
- Alfred Schlippenbach, son of Russian service colonel Manfred Schlippenbach
- B.N. Grigoriev "Charles XII, or five bullets for the king." M .: Young Guard, 2006